Milk labeling dispute settled

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In a battle over milk labeling that gained national attention, Oakhurst Dairy and Monsanto Corporation have reached an out-of-court settlement.

Oakhurst of Portland, Maine has agreed to modify its label. At issue was the wording: "Our Farmer’s Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormone Used." Monsanto, the makers of Posilac, a growth hormone that enables cows to give more milk, filed suit against Oakhurst Dairy in August over deceptive labeling practices. Monsanto’s position was that Oakhurst’s label implied that Oakhurst milk was safer and healthier than milk from cows given the synthetic hormone.

Under the agreement, Oakhurst can maintain it’s farmer’s pledge, but it also must add an additional qualifying statement:  "FDA states: No significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone."

In 1994 Monsanto filed similar suits against dairies in Illinois and Texas. Both were settled out of court when the dairy companies agreed to modify their labels.

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